||[Jan. 12th, 2018|02:21 am]
The video above contains a fragment of a recording from a students protest (in the University of Toronto?), with the following exchange between a student and a professor (I marked places where I was unsure of the words with question marks):
S.: Why do you have the authority to determine whether or not an individual is worthy of you using their pronouns? Like, if I asked you, would you please use they/thon [?] pronouns for me, what...
P.: It would depend on what have you got as your motivation [?]
S.: Those are my pronouns!!!
This is a powerful statement that, to my surprise, is not widely adopted by the people like this professor, who would rather argue about genders, biological sexes, or whether additional pronouns have a place in the English language. While they / thon may be the pronouns of that student from the video, they do not exist in the professor’s everyday language. They are not his pronouns. To insist that they do, to actually make them enter his lexicon is to perform an act of violence (albeit of a mental, intellectual nature) against him, a not-necessarily-so-micro-aggresson. To turn the argument around: what makes the student think [pronoun] has the authority to perform such an act of aggression against the professor?